Salute to Veterans

Veterans Day speakers talk about lessons learned

Myra Saturen and Cynthia Tintorri,

Linda MaloneyNorthampton Community College's Monroe Campus hosted a unique guest on Veterans Day.  

Author, business owner, leadership development professional and speaker Linda Maloney spoke at the Monroe Campus on November 11.  The live talk was streamed from the Monroe Campus to Main Campus. 

Maloney is proud of being a pioneer for women in the armed forces.  In her ROTC classes, she was the only woman.  She was the first woman to join a combat flying squadron, after combat roles were opened to women in 1993.  Additionally, she was the first woman to eject herself from a Martin Baker ejection seat into the Atlantic Ocean when there was a mechanical failure in the plane.      

Now, as a retired Navy commander and an executive at a defense company in Rhode Island, she stays active.  She started the National Women Veterans Speakers Bureau, whose members travel around the country.  She has received numerous awards. 

Her first book is Military Fly Moms -- Sharing Memories, Building Legacies, Inspiring Hope, a collection of true stories of 70 women who share the same dream -- that of becoming aviators in the military and being moms. Maloney is herself the mother of two growing children. 

Maloney outlined her story, from joining the military at age 17 to graduating from the University of Idaho and its ROTC program, to becoming an aviator traffic controller in Hawaii, continuing to advance in the ranks.     

"But the story is about much more than mine," Maloney said.  She lauded the men and women who make great personal sacrifices to serve in the military.  She then spoke about five NCC students who are veterans or current service men and women.  Her book, which she wrote to leave a written legacy for her children, chronicles the stories of women veterans-how they got into the field, how they balanced family and career and the legacies they want to leave. 

"I want to leave a legacy of mentoring, encouraging and walking alongside veterans and service men and women," she said. 

Maloney compared achieving success in life with accomplishing goals as an aviator:

•·         Have a flight plan

•·         Stay on course.  If you get off course, get back on.

•·         Communicate your path and goals with people in your life.

•·         Avoid emergencies by dealing with them ethically and honestly.  Surround yourself with people who share your dreams and goals.

•·         Make a landing through perseverance

•·         Celebrate success by giving back, being a mentor for others. 

Maloney ended her talk by thanking veterans past and present for their service. Proceeds from a book signing by Maloney will go to Valor Home, a shelter for homeless veterans. 

Joe ArataOn Thursday, November 13, NCC's Main Campus hosted Joe Arata, Chief, Strategic Recruitment for Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Department of Homeland Security (ICE/DHS), who spoke on the topic of "Returning Veterans: An Opportunity for Colleges and Employers to Leverage these Unique Assets."

After serving in the Army and Army Reserves for 25 years, including participating as a combat paratrooper in Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Shield, Arata joined the DHS. He is now responsible for recruiting at ICE, including all of ICE's veterans programs.

Arata manages the HERO program, an internship in which ICE trains wounded, ill and injured service members in computer forensics. They then serve in ICE field offices nationwide, working for Child Exploitation Investigation Units to arrest and convict child predators.

"Veterans make good students because they have a set plan - they want to be at college, and they have real-life experience and can mentor others about school and about life," Arata said. "Educators play a pivotal role in transitioning veterans to their future roles."

He likened returning vets to paratroopers on a mission. "You begin every mission alone. But when you land, you bump into another paratrooper, and you become a buddy team. You bump into some more, and you become a squad. That's how you complete your mission.

"NCC can be that buddy team for veterans -- whether it's another veteran or an educator -

- to help them be successful."

NCC President Mark Erickson said the college takes pride in its veterans, and its Military Friendly status, and that we should take time to thank them for their service when we meet them. "But go farther; ask them 'How can we help you get where you want to be?'

NCC enrolls 238 veterans at the Main and Monroe campuses and at the Fowler Family Southside Center.